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Montana Politics Ryan Zinke Steve Daines

Editorial Boards Call Out Shameful Republican Cowardice on Syrian Refugees

Although they seem to have left out Greg Gianforte, a couple of the Montana newspaper editorial boards have forcefully called out the sad spectacle of Montana Republicans pandering to base ethnocentrism and irrational fear in their calls to block Syrian refugees from Montana.

From the Missoulian:

But it should not close the door on the world’s “huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” as the inscription reads on the Statute of Liberty. America can continue to accept refugees, as we always have. We can provide some measure of relief to our allies in these turbulent times by accepting a greater number of refugees from Syria; this does not mean we must welcome them witlessly. We can enhance security screening requirements as necessary.

From the Billings Gazette:

It’s also a clever bit of doublespeak when conservative, religious politicians seem to fight so darn hard to keep a bunch of desperate Syrians out. To worry about their Islam is to ignore our Christianity. Exodus reminds us, “You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” And maybe Jesus’ most famous parable, The Good Samaritan, was nothing more than a tale of strangers….

Folks like Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke are fear-mongering, trying to capitalize on distrust of foreigners during a time of crisis and tragedy, as in the Paris attacks.

Almost the entire modern Republican ideology, hidden under a thin veneer of macho posturing, is based on fear: fear that migrants seeking a better life will steal “our” jobs, fear that sensible gun laws will lead to a totalitarian nightmare,fear that paying workers a living wage will break the economy, fear that gay people loving each other will destroy marriage, fear that public education might teach children, fear that negotiating with our rivals will weaken us, and now fear that widows and orphans will destroy the security of Montanans.

That constant fear mongering, as friends who have been the targets of it can certainly attest to, so easily slips into hatred and even violence. It’s high time the media in Montana start calling out this dangerous ideology of fear for what it is: a tool to win elections by inflaming the worst of our passions instead of inspiring the best of them.

Update: Someone in the Montana press might want to ask Steve Daines, who has endorsed Marco Rubio, if the Paris attacks were truly a “positive development.”


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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


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